Pat Vance is elected chairman
Wicklow County Council agm
Cllr Pat Vance was elected cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council on Monday for his third time.
The seasoned Fianna Fáil politician was proposed by Cllr Gerry Walsh who said he had over 30 years experience as a local councillor and has 'an in-depth and some would say unparalleled knowledge of the workings of council. This will serve him well in the fifth and final year of this council'.
He was seconded by Cllr Gail Dunne, who said Cllr Vance had been a good friend to him over the past 20 years.
'I know the last year of the council can be one of the most difficult ones and we couldn't have a safer pair of hands on the wheel', he said.
Cllr Vance was elected unopposed and taking up the chair he thanked all the members for the 'vote of confidence'.
He paid special tribute to outgoing chairman, Cllr Edward Timmins, thanking him for his courtesy and the good work he had carried out within the county over the past year. He said that he had known Cllr Timmins' father, Godfrey, and like him Cllr Timmins had always set about doing the best he could for Wicklow, irrespective of politics.
He said that he hoped the final year of the council would be productive.
'I know the fifth year of the council is generally particularly tough and I'm prepared to give as much time as possible to the members to make it a successful year.
'I certainly can't do that without the help and cooperation of the members and officials.'
He said that during his year in the chair he wanted to see some positive progress in housing saying that the provision of social and affordable housing is paramount for him.
Cllr Vance said that while social housing is vital he felt there was also a 'huge need for affordable housing'.
Employment is another key area in which he wants to see progress and said he will be looking at ways in which the council can encourage employers to come to Wicklow. 'We have a marvellous product here and I don't think we are getting the best value from it', he said.
Cllr Vance said his predecessor, Cllr Timmins, had championed giving more power to the various municipal districts and this is something he is keen to continue working on.
Finally he thanked his wife Mary for the support she had given him over the years saying he couldn't have had the political career he had had without her.
'She has been a tremendous support and given a kick up the backside when I needed it!' He said he was looking forward to working with officials and members alike over the coming year.